My Father, Wally Davis, died 20 years ago today (12 Sept 1996), there has rarely been a day since when I have not thought of him, and to mark this occasion I’m publishing the eulogy I gave at his funeral at this link
Wally was lifelong Socialist, a keen cyclist, a Londoner to his core, a pioneer in healthcare, but most of all a man deeply committed to his family.
Wally was a cyclist throughout his life and never held a driving licence. He wooed my Mother with a tandem and cycled to work and meetings in London at a time when this was somewhat looked down on and there were few cyclists on the roads in Central London. He would be amazed at the change in the provision of and attitude to cyclists in London today. I too cycle around London to meetings and while it is still probably seen as slightly eccentric for a man of my age and weight, It’s probably good for my street cred.
Although my Parents moved out of London in 1994 Wally was a lifelong Londoner with an encyclopedic knowledge of its History and loved the city. He would be pleased that my two children now call themselves Londoners, who like me, share his knowledge and love of the city. He would also have been pleased that many of his predictions as to how London would develop have come to pass, particularly in relationship to the Borough (where he had his office for many years) and Greenwich, which he rightly saw as an undiscovered gem and was where we scattered his ashes.
Unexpectedly, catapulted in the the Medical Practitioners Union as it National Executive Officer in 1960 he played a central role in the transformation of General Practice that occurred in the 1960s – He pioneered professional management in general practice and the role of the practice team. He was early to recognise the potential of IT in general practice and it was his decision to launch the first specialist healthcare information provider on BT’s PRESTEL system in 1981, that persuaded me to change career direction and join him in setting up MEDITEL Ltd in 1981.
GP Computing was well established by the time of his death and I think he would be surprised that it’s changed so little since and that the rest of the NHS have still not caught up. While he survived to become an Internet user and the first mobiles phones he would be amazed by the changes these things have brought about, probably making him even more depressed at the NHS’s slow progress in taking advantage of these new technologies.
Most of all Wally was a family man and in particular a Grandfather. He was lucky to know all but the youngest of his grandchildren but expressed regrets that he would probably not see them as adults. That this came to a place, and that he never knew Anna (my brother’s only child), are certainly amongst the few things he would have regretted about his life, but he would have been pleased how they turned out.
If you want to read more you will find the Eulogy here
12 Sept 2016